• Mon. May 20th, 2024

“Thoughts and prayers” of West Oxfordshire are with the Royal Family


Sep 13, 2022

The “thoughts and prayers” of West Oxfordshire are with the Royal Family, said West Oxfordshire's civic and church leaders after the death of the Queen was announced last Thursday.

Mayor of Witney Cllr Liz Duncan and the leader of the council Vicky Gwatkin said in a statement they were "truly saddened" by the Queen's passing.

They wrote: "Now is the time to reflect on her decades of diligent and dedicated service throughout the unprecedented longevity of reign and the tremendous changes she has seen in her lifetime.

"Having reached her milestone Platinum Jubilee, Her Majesty has been at the heart of community celebrations across the nation this year.

"On behalf of the Town Council and the people of the town of Witney, we offer our sincere condolences to members of the Royal Family at this very sad time.”

READ ALSO: Britons encouraged to clap for the Queen

The flag on the Town Hall has been flying at half-mast and the town’s ceremonial mace bears a black ribbon.

All Witney Town Council committee meetings are cancelled during the time of national mourning.

Floral tributes have been laid at St Mary’s Church and there is a book of condolence in the Corn Exchange for people to leave messages.

Former Conservative Prime Minister and Witney MP David Cameron said there were "no words" to express the sense of loss the nation will feel.

Mr Cameron, who has a home in West Oxfordshire, said in a statement posted on social media that the Queen had been "a rock of strength for our nation and the Commonwealth".

He said he was "very proud" to have served as the Queen’s 12th premier and that it was a "privilege" to call on her "sage advice and wise counsel".

Current Witney MP Robert Courts said: "The sad passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II is keenly felt by everybody throughout West Oxfordshire and beyond. For every one of us in the United Kingdom, this is a moment of deep grief and, most profoundly, the end of an era.

"As we mourn the passing of our finest monarch and remember a remarkable life, my thoughts and those of everybody in West Oxfordshire are with the Royal Family as we enter into this period of national mourning.

"But, above all, we say thank you to Her Majesty: For always putting our country and the Commonwealth first. For being the unifying constant in all our lives. For always finding the right words. For everything she has done and everything she has achieved. For devoting her life to us. Truly, Elizabeth the Great."

Chair of West Oxfordshire District Council Julian Cooper, said “her dedication to our Country and the Crown will go down in the history books, and her commitment to a life of service is an example to us all.

"She will be long remembered and we are thankful for all she has done as our longest serving monarch."

Mr Cooper joined councillors, council staff and residents from across the district in laying floral tributes at St Mary’s Church on Friday.

In line with national guidance the council will be continuing business as usual over the coming days but councillors will be wearing black armbands.

The council will fly the Union flag at half-mast until the morning after the Queen's State funeral on September 19.

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Revd Canon Toby Wright of St Mary’s Witney said the church wanted to express its “grief and sadness”.

A civic service took place at St Mary’s on Sunday to give thanks for the Queen’s life.

The traditional blessing at the Golden Gallopers carousel on the Leys which opens Witney Feast was conducted with no choir procession or hymns.

He said: “Our prayers are with our new King Charles and with all the Royal Family. This is an additional sadness at a critical time for the nation."

But, he said, the Queen "had such a strong faith and it was her strong hope that this was not the end and this is a moment to hold on to that.

“Our hope and prayer is that she is now in glory. May she rest in peace.”

A prayer station has been set up in the St George’s Chapel in St Mary’s, offering an opportunity for silent prayer and reflection and to light a candle and sign a Book of Condolences.

Books of condolence are also available in council buildings at Carterton, Chipping Norton, Woodstock, Charlbury and Burford.

Flowers may also be laid at the west door of St John the Baptist Church in Burford.

To mark the accession of the new sovereign, King Charles III, WODC raised the Union Flag to full mast in line with protocol.

It was lowered again following a proclamation ceremony in Witney Market Square and will remain at half-mast until the morning after Her Majesty’s funeral.

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